Can you get a car out of impound without insurance?

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Things to remember...

Vehicle impoundment is a scary term to most vehicle owners. If you’re not familiar with the term, impounding a car is a legal process of taking over control of the car in a lot until conditions are met and the vehicle owner is allowed to get their vehicle back.

Since the average person relies on their car, having your vehicle impounded can affect your whole life.

If you’ve ever had a car impounded, you know how stressful it can be to get the car released. There are all types of paperwork you need to sign and bring with you to ensure that your long wait in the line to have your car released isn’t in vain.

If your car isn’t insured, there’s a strong chance that you’ll have to show you’ve purchased insurance.

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What are the most common reasons that cars are impounded?

Cars are impounded by police quite often. In many cities, there’s a police impound lot dedicated to storing cars that have been abandoned or impounded after a crime has been committed.

This is the lot that you report to when you’re ready to submit the paperwork that the citation requests for release of your car.

Cars are typically impounded when they contain evidence of a crime and the evidence can’t be readily removed at the crime scene.

If the car is actually evidence in and of itself, it can also be impounded so that it can be processed, which is common after DUI crashes or other crashes where someone is charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Cars that present a public safety hazard can also be towed from the scene of a traffic stop and impounded.

These unsafe vehicles might include the following:

Are cars always impounded when they are uninsured?

Every state has a different set of rules when it comes to how they handled uninsured cars that are one the public roads. There are no two states that are alike when it comes to how an officer is ordered to handle your case when you’re pulled over.

In some states, when you’re operating your car and your tag shows you have invalid insurance, police officers will write you a ticket and order you to appear in court.

In other states, when you’re caught driving uninsured it’s seen as a public safety hazard and the car is immediately towed and impounded.

How long will your car be impounded for having no insurance?

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How long you’ll be without your car depends on the state as well. Some states are willing to give car owners their cars back after they pay their fines and others will hold onto the cars for a mandatory period of time before you can take possession of it.

The only way to retrieve your vehicle legally is to satisfy the mandatory impound duration and then present the paperwork the lot needs for processing and proof of your identity.

Some states require all uninsured cars to be in the lot for no less than 30 days for first-time offenders and others require a period of three months for people with multiple offenses.

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How much does it cost to get your car out of impound?

Getting your car out of impound isn’t cheap. If you were the driver or the owner of the car and you were convicted of an offense, you’re liable to pay all of the costs that are directly associated with the impound. You must pay all of the fees before you’ll get the car back.

Some of the time, when the Commissioner of Police thinks it’s necessary, the lot will waive some of the fees so that you can have the vehicle released to you. This happens in very rare circumstances.

Some of the fees that are included in the final invoice that you’ll have to pay include:

  • Towing hook-up charge
  • Towing fee per mile
  • Storage fees at the lot
  • Impound fee with the police
  • Civil fee

What paperwork do you need to have a confiscated vehicle returned to you?


Impound lots are typically open 24 hours a day because there’s no telling when a car will be impounded. If you need to get your car back quickly, you should have a checklist of the items that you’ll need.

It’s usually the same from city to city, but in some situations, you’ll need sign-offs that others don’t need. Here are some must-have documents:

  • Proof that you own the vehicle (title or registration)
  • Photo identification proving your identity
  • Proof that you have car insurance on the vehicle
  • Accepted form of payment to pay the fees due

What happens if your car isn’t insured?

If you were pulled over for not having insurance, you must present proof of insurance at release. Some states will allow you to take your car home without proof of insurance if you tow it away from the lot.

You can’t drive the car off of the lot without registration or insurance because this is mandatory.

When your car is sitting in impound and it’s eligible for release, you should arrange the release as soon as possible. The costs can add up each day the car sits there. Be sure to compare auto quotes before you buy a policy.

After you get an affordable policy, go to the lot and provide all of the proof needed so that you can take over possession of your property.

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